Whisky Magazine Issue 29
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The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is one of the year's whiskey highlights. Damian Riley-Smith brought back a suitcase full of fond memories
The rollercoaster ride that is the Kentucky Bourbon Festival more than met expectations yet again. Kentucky, often mistakenly left off the US tourist map, is the heartland of hospitality, subtle beauty and historic charm.
This year began with a trip embodying a ‘historic' experience, and one that I had passed up annually, not having the opportunity to try it.
My Old Kentucky Dinner Train runs from Bardstown several miles into the countryside, to Clermont at the Jim Beam Distillery, where it conducts a gentle loop and then retraces its steps to Bardstown.
Trundling through the woods and corn fields, meadows and scrub that make up the landscape of Kentucky, the train provides one of those rare views of the real Kentucky. The trip is made all the more memorable as a splendid three-course dinner is prepared, served and consumed, all brought together by the energetic crew led by Bob Perry.
And on that evening we were never further than a moment away from Bulleit bourbon – either neat, on the rocks or served as an enticing cocktail.
‘Let's Talk Bourbon', hosted by and at Four Roses, is one of those great opportunities for anyone with any level of knowledge to ask any question they wish about bourbon.
With Jim Rutledge in the hot seat, and guests from all over the world, this truly international event leaves us all with a sense of greater knowledge and understanding. This year was also special for Four Roses as its future has been secured with new owners.